Opening with a song entitled The Reason is just about the most powerful way to begin this EP from Ryan Zimmerman. The opening speech or snippet of a monologue sets things off on an inspiring foot, and the great thing about the music that follows is that it feels incredibly real – honest, genuine, the work of a humble and open minded creative with an absolute passion for making music. The song progresses into something that seems partly inspired by Nirvana, party by Bowie, and partly by the simple pleasures of acoustic, singer-songwriter offerings. It’s a stunning sound, minimalist in many ways but the perfect angle at which to showcase the voice and musings of the artist. The song has a great hook, subtle and humble once again, but effective and an absolute pleasure to re-witness when it comes back around.
Moving forwards through the project, Backpacks presents a certain joyful rhythm and riff that softly surrounds you. The melody is unusual on this one, not succumbing to any expectations that the chord progression may bring upon you. This is definitely one of its strengths, the unusual placement of the melody alongside of the chords, this touch of melancholy in among such an optimistic soundscape. The explicit language furthers the effect, and in fact, the more you listen to Ryan Zimmerman, the more you appreciate and relate to his honesty and authenticity. Many of his ideas provoke thought, but many also reaffirm what you may have been thinking yourself. It’s a collection to find comfort in when you’re feeling uncertain.
Lola And John is a beautifully delicate piece of music and writing. The mention of a bottle of red reiterates the feeling that it is not necessarily through sobriety that songs like this are crafted. The artist’s vocal performance has a laid back, even exhausted aura to it, delivering the story in a way that underlines its emotional relevance and keeps you captivated throughout. You wind up wondering about these characters, about the singer’s connection to the story, and about your own experiences involving similar sentiments. At over six minutes long you really find yourself sinking deep into this one.
Things get switched up a notch or two for the final song of the EP, For The Meek. There’s a reggae meets electronic-funk vibe to the track, Ryan’s melody and vocal delivery creatively meander as the top line above all of this, widening the dynamic and later evolving to create a striking contrast with the underlying soundscape. The change from the verse to the hook is not your standard, predictable style of development. Once again, Ryan Zimmerman fuses the melancholy and the hopeful, grasping back at that ephemeral kiss, contemplating the shortness of these experiences – the joy in line with the sadness. He forever maintains an element of mystery and intrigue, and this keeps you interested from start to finish. His approach to creative expression is compelling – familiar in some ways, but distinctly unheard of in others.
Ephemeral As A Kiss is a mesmerising and repeatedly enjoyable collection. The songs don’t get tiresome because they take a little longer than usual to become known in their entirety, and that helps keep the sound new and exciting and real. Ryan Zimmerman’s voice is superb, as is his style of songwriting. Hopefully there’s a lot more to come.